Lincoln’s embattled City Traffic Engineer now has some reinforcements. The Nebraska Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies has issued a statement backing Engineer Lonnie Burkland’s stand against a school crossing proposed for 84th and Leighton. The city council approved the crossing on a 4-3 vote Monday, even though Burkland and City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick recommended against it.
The statement from The American Council of Engineering Companies of Nebraska (ACEC/Nebraska) says that the City Council “may be in violation of State law by mandating an engineering decision in direct conflict with the recommendation of the City Traffic Engineering Manager.”
Burklund told the Council, during debate on the crossing, that he believes the drastic change in speed for 84th street traffic, during times when the flashing yellow light would lower the speed limit to 25, would make the intersection more dangerous. Burklund told the Council that neither he nor any of his staff would sign off on the documents necessary for construction. City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick added that he fears building a school crossing without an Engineer’s certification might expose the City to added liability in the event of an accident there.
The ACEC/Nebraska statement also strongly opposed the suggestion of the crossing sponsor, City Council member Cindyd Lamm, that the City would simply find another Professional Engineer to sign off on the project. The group said it “suggests that the City will only hire an engineer who would agree to endorse the majority of the council members’ wishes and not one who will impartially review the situation and render a true professional opinion.”
Mayor Chris Beutler has yet to either sign or veto the measures passed by the Council to establish the school zone.